There is an interesting verse in Genesis chapter four that we have all read countless times, but today I realized God Himself gave us the key to victory over sin.
Genesis 4:1-10 NKJV “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”
In verse seven, God told Cain, “if you do not do well, sin is lying at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain brought God his leftovers, while Abel brought God the first. Instead of recognizing his wrongdoing, Cain let anger rule in his heart. God warned Cain that sin was lying in wait, but he didn’t deal with it, and in verse eight, Cain murdered his brother. If Cain had ruled over the anger in his heart, he never would have gone to the step of murder.
James 1:14-15 outlines the steps from the temptation to sin. “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Lust is not just a sexual thing; lust is a desire.
When we do not rule over evil desires like God instructed Cain to do, we will be overtaken by sin. To rule over sin means to be a master over it; if we take the thought captive sent won’t have a chance.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.“
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
Scripture is clear on how we handle temptation. God told Cain to rule over it, James gave us the steps from the temptation to sin, and in Corinthians, Paul tells us how to overcome it. We can overcome temptation through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He quoted Scripture to the devil; we must do the same. We either give into the flesh or put our flesh under subjection; the choice is ours. Choose victory today!